The Ohio State University at Marion

Pay It Forward ties students to the Marion community through technology and interdisciplinary hands-on approach

December 10, 2019
Student philanthropy project awards $5000 in community grants

What began nine years ago as a concept to introduce students to practical lessons in grant writing, grant approval, and non-profit organization stewardship has grown to become an important part of securing much needed funding for several Marion area non-profit organizations. For the community it strengthens the partnership between Ohio State Marion and the United Way of Marion County, and provides a great experiential learning opportunity for students involved in English 2367.01S, the Pay It Forward student philanthropy initiative.

Students taking part in the Pay It Forward program and local non-profit organizations came together Monday, December 9, 11 a.m. in Maynard Hall’s Guthery Community Room to celebrate another successful collaboration to distribute $5000 in grant funds and increase awareness of several local agencies that help those in need.

Four grant requesters were awarded funds from the Pay It Forward program Monday’s celebration: Boys and Girls Club of Marion County was awarded $3,000; Goodwill of Marion County was awarded $1,000; Autism Support and More was awarded $500; and Mobile Meals was awarded $500.

According to Pay It Forward course instructor Amy Tibbals, a senior lecturer in English at Ohio State Marion, students were tasked with creating public service announcements (PSA’s) for each non-profit organization finalists seeking grant funding as an additional piece to this semester’s service-learning project.

“As part of the university's Digital Flagship Initiative, students used their iPads to record and create public service announcements using Adobe Spark Video. Their goal was to accurately represent and advocate for one of the non-profit organizations,” said Tibbals.

“With the university’s incentive to really use digital media in the classroom, it made a lot of sense for students to think about how they could use video to make an impact for their organization, to tell about who their organization is and what their organization does,” Tibbals explained.

“Using Adobe Spark Video there was a perfect template to set up a public service announcement, and that’s what students did,” she said. “They created their public service announcements, and I really hope the organizations use them on their websites.”

Ohio State Marion sophomore aviation major, Colby Carter compared his time as a young person attending Boys and Girls Club of Marion County and as a college student learning about the organization through the Pay It Forward project.

“Working with Boys and Girls Club was actually pretty nice because I’ve been able to experience it first-hand and realize what they have to offer,” said Carter. "Just seeing what they do for these kids, and how they’ve worked with me too, is just amazing,” Carter added.

“All of those kids are definitely going to grow and go on to lead nice lives, and just seeing how they’ve helped me to get where I am today now that I’m in college is amazing, he said. “They’ve really helped me to achieve my goals. They’re really doing a lot for these kids.” ~ Sophomore aviation major, Colby Carter

Tibbals shared that Pay It Forward brings multiple aspects of teaching and learning to the classroom through research and writing, as well as learning about the community and area organizations.

“Well, I think it really has a great deal to do with English because they (the students) had to think about what pictures, what words, what things to say, how to write on the video, the words that people should see, the words that people should hear,” said Tibbals. “All of those things actually tie perfectly into an English course,” Tibbals added, “and what you would need to do as you’re thinking about audience and that sort of thing to get your message out. I think it was just one more really great element that we could add that was hands-on that they could use, and that the community organizations could actually use.”

Pay It Forward in spring semester brings another unique opportunity for business students to get involved in the project. Tibbals shared that students will spearhead a funding campaign with the goal of raising $2000 to keep the program on solid financial footing. Those who wish to give this spring should contact Amy Tibbals at for details.